When Charles Mingus recorded Tijuana Moods in July 1957 he was really hitting his stride. The previous year saw the release of Pithecanthropus Erectus and The Clown for Atlantic, and by the end of 1957 he would produce two more masterpieces for the Bethlehem label. For some reason, RCA chose not to release Tijuana Moods until 1962, at which time the mercurial bassist declared it his best record. Certainly it is among his greatest, a musical impression of a border-town spree by Mingus and drummer Danny Richmond, brought to life by musicians who truly understood what the composer wanted. Jimmy Knepper was the perfect trombonist for this band, and Clarence Shaw may have been the perfect trumpeter. Saxophonist Shafi Hadi (aka Curtis Porter) is wonderful here, and pianist Bill Triglia exceeded himself, as sidemen so often did with Mingus over the years. Later reissues added many alternate takes, and cleaned up an edit or two, but while these are vital to Mingus specialists, his vision is probably rendered in its clearest form in the original version. Especially when it is rendered on 180-gram vinyl as it is here, and packaged with the original artwork, so daring in its day, so “incorrect” in ours.